Thumbs down to people who drive too fast for winter conditions. We’ve all done it, and we’ve all been victims of those who do it. You’re running late and drive too close to the car in front of you, or approach that four-way stop and slide right into the intersection after waiting too long to apply the brakes. Happily, in our less populated corner of the state, sometimes there are no adverse consequences. However, this winter it feels like our luck has run out, and we’ve seen fatalities and severe injuries result from dangerous road conditions. The fact is, you never know when there may be ice hidden under snow on the road, so slow down and drive carefully. Being late is infinitely better than being dead, or injured, or in any kind of accident.
Thumbs up to the library science grant, which promotes “informal science learning” for adults. It doesn’t target scientists or science buffs, rather it aims to make science learning enjoyable for anyone. There are no lectures, experiments or use of technology. Librarian Mark King called it “book club meets science café” … what could be better? We hope this and similar initiatives might convince people to appreciate the role science plays in our everyday lives … and understand that scientific fact isn’t actually a matter of opinion.
Thumbs down to news that Brian Fritsinger is moving on. While we wish the best for Fritsinger, who has been the Cloquet city administrator here for close to 18 years, his departure will be a great loss for the city. During his tenure, Fritsinger has been at the epicentre of a city that planned its expenditures five and 10 years into the future and reacted quickly to economic downturns and anything else that happened. He and former Mayor Bruce Ahlgren got the legislature to approve the half-cent sales tax, and our city parks are reaping the benefits of those years of effort now. He was not only a remarkable administrator, he volunteered in different capacities and quietly went about making this city better while raising children here with his wife, Sheila. We hope the city’s elected officials will take great care in selecting a replacement who can fill the very large shoes (figuratively speaking) that Fritsinger leaves behind. He deserves — actually, he got one at the Chamber banquet — a standing ovation for everything he’s done for Cloquet.
Thumbs up to continued business growth. We now have a new drop-in medical clinic in MedExpress, the new Avenue C restaurant in Cloquet’s West End and — if the billboard is to be believed — a barbecue restaurant opening soon in the old Cheers building on Cloquet Avenue. Taco Bell is coming to town (really, can you ever have enough tacos?) and Best Oil is moving out to the Cloquet Business Park. Now all we need is a buyer for the old Ed’s Bakery building, once the city and its Economic Development Authority finish the work on the outside, which will go a long way toward making downtown even more attractive. These are exciting times.
~ Jana Peterson